Album Review: Liam Gallagher and John Squire – Liam Gallagher John Squire


Before you read on, a word of warning. There are some fans who would prefer to see Liam Gallagher submerge himself in a completely different genre a la reggae; composing something that might appease stoner rock fans and music journos. Then there are others, much larger in their numbers, that wish to see the erstwhile Oasis frontman tackle the genre he popularised in 1994: alternative rock. John Squire’s masterful guitar playing and hyper-kinetic approach to songcraft was a clear influence on Gallagher during his Oasis heyday, which is why Gallagher’s decision to partner up with him for an album doesn’t just seem logical, but overdue. No matter, the album chugs along with tremendous energy, culminating in some of Gallagher’s mightiest vocals since Definitely Maybe

As most Oasis fans will agree, Gallagher’s instinctual singing style is best served on a live stage, but he’s found an excellent sparring partner in Squire, who compliments the ragged vocals with a series of combustible guitar hooks. The jaunty ‘Make It Up As You Go Along’ doubles as the central mantra, the discipline on which the entire album is built on. The Liam Gallagher John Squire record came to fruition under accidental circumstances, an exercise in camaraderie following Squire’s triumphant guest appearance at Knebworth 22. Sensing a wave of creativity, the duo followed the spark to its furthest possibility, culminating in a ten track set that showcases two hungry artists playing with every ounce of their being and soul. 

Squire’s guitar crackles during the bluesy ‘I’m A Wheel’, but that’s ok, because it represents a commitment that’s swiftly becoming a vanishingly rare experience in the field of rock. To describe ‘Raise Your Hands’ as a homage to Britpop is a little misleading (although it does lean heavily on a sing-along chorus, making it the most Oasis-like song on the entire album.) Like much of the album, it walks down a solitary path, before being interrupted by a brooding, brusque solo halfway in the song. The splatter of guitars are an essential component of the album, expertly carrying the vocal melodies to the forefront, before changing course down a road of its own giddy invention. 

The Bernard Butleresque ‘Mars to Liverpool’ has already made an impression on YouTube, as has ‘Just Another Rainbow’ – a monster anthem, propelled on an off-kilter groove as well as some barrelling vocal interpolations – but there’s plenty here for Oasis fans to sink their teeth into. Going clear past any other British indie band for power and intensity, Squire matches Gallagher on ‘You’re Not The Only One’ for energy, only to halt the proceedings with a caustic, semi-comic, fade-out. 

‘I’m So Bored’ is the true centrepiece of the work, and is almost certainly the best example of the spontaneity Gallagher and Squire are clearly chasing. More than just a rocker, the tension builds and builds until Gallagher enters to let out what sounds like a decade’s worth of pent up frustrations into the microphone. The result is jovial, but the comedy never spirals into out and out pastiche, carrying one of Gallagher’s angriest vocals in recent years. Album closer ‘Mother Nature’s Song’  is the type of Lennon-fuelled balladry that Gallagher is often written off as, but Squire gallantly colours the proceedings with an acoustic guitar that is entirely of his own volition. 

There’s no denying the fact that Gallagher sings ‘Mother Nature’s Song’ with tremendous good will and economy; his gentlest since ‘Married With Children’. The riffs come from all corners, but never at Gallagher’s expense. Liam Gallagher John Squire  isn’t necessarily revolutionary in its execution, but it more than delivers on its promise to bring rock back to square one. From this point on, anything’s possible for the duo, but if this record is a one-off, then what a one-off it is!